Deshaun Watson To Face Sexual Assault Questions Under Oath
A Houston judge has ruled that Deshaun Watson can face questions under oath in at least some of the 22 civil cases filed against him by women who have accused the (perhaps soon-to-be-former) Houston Texans quarterback of everything from sexual harassment to sexual assault during massage sessions.
Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, filed a motion last week to delay Watson’s deposition until after April 1—it was originally scheduled to begin as early as this week. He argued that such a delay would enable Watson’s legal team to secure depositions with all 22 of the plaintiffs and also allow Watson the protection of knowing whether he’ll also face criminal charges.
Hardin’s deposition-delay motion was denied Monday, at least in part.
“Deshaun Watson’s team loudly and publicly claims he is innocent and wants nothing more than to clear his name, yet he refuses to sit in a room and face his accusers and answer questions under oath,” Tony Buzbee, the Houston attorney for the 22 women suing Watson, said Monday.
“Today [Watson] sought more delay; however, despite his efforts, the Court ruled that, at least with regard to the first nine plaintiffs, there will be no more delay.”
The court ruled Monday that Watson can be questioned under oath on allegations relating to nine of the pending civil cases; none of the women involved in said nine cases has filed a criminal complaint against Watson, and all have already provided depositions in their ongoing civil cases.
Hardin argued in court on Monday that no attorney would allow a client to provide sworn testimony in a civil case when a potential criminal case is looming.
“The obligation of the lawyer is to protect the client, and while there is a criminal investigation going on, it is only fair to wait to see whether it results in charges or it doesn’t before deciding whether you’re going to submit somebody for depositions,” Hardin said after Monday’s hearing.
Hardin added Monday that Watson “didn’t do what he is accused of doing,” and that “I’m hopeful and I trust that will be a conclusion of a grand jury.”
The NFL is investigating Watson’s case.
The subject of trade rumors for months, Watson didn’t play at all this season for Houston despite remaining on the active roster.